EP/Southern Kings fan Wankie “Ezee Fana” Dlula during the Currie Cup match between Eastern Province Kings and Free State Cheetahs at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in 2014.
(Michael Sheehan/Gallo Images)
- Passionate Southern Kings and Eastern Province super fan Wankie “Ezee Fana” Dlula died suddenly after collapsing on Monday.
- Dlula was dedicated to youth sports development as well, starting the Ezee Fana Academy to keep young kids away from bad influences.
- The unofficial mascot would often be seen dressed in full rugby regalia at the stadium, pacing up and down the stands during Kings matches.
Passionate Southern Kings and Eastern Province (EP) super fan Wankie “Ezee Fana” Dlula died suddenly on Monday, Sport24 can report.
Dlula would often be seen sporting full rugby playing gear – scrum cap, gum guard, boots and all – inside the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium stands shouting fervently in support of the Gqeberha-based teams.
Zwide United RFC founding member and EP Metro Sub-Union president Freddie Makoki, who was at the scene of Dlula’s death, said he collapsed suddenly outside a vehicle he was traveling in while looking for a rest room.
“I got a call while I was at the EP offices that something had happened to him near Spar at Sydenham,” Makoki, a close friend of Dlula’s, told Sport24.
“We went there and found that he had collapsed outside a vehicle he was traveling in. The person who was with him said he became weak when he got out of the car to find a restroom.
“Paramedics came onto the scene and declared him dead.”
Dlula was zealously involved in developing young boys and girls in both rugby as well as cricket, with a drive to keep youth from the lures of drugs and crime in townships.
He started the Ezee Fana Academy to serve this very purpose and scored invites for the underprivileged kids to play in elite schools tournaments at Kingswood College and the like.
His academy boys also played against Durban High School and St John’s College, while in 2018 they beat St Stithians 26-22.
“It’s been painful since,” said Makoki.
“Ezee was a sports person through and through, and was good with developing youth.
“He could put together rugby materials for kids and he was a man very dedicated to youth rugby.
“At one stage he headed the youth development at Zwide United, having joined from Spring Rose.
“At the time of his passing, he was a member of Eastern Rugby Club.
“He had his own academy, called Ezee Fana Academy. He was a wise rugby person.
“When EP or the Southern Kings were playing, people would see him as the mascot running up and down the stands, singing and whistling while supporting the team.”
Dlula would troll the Kings training and match day pitches, chatting to anyone who was buzzing around.
He was to Eastern Province what “Oom Bushy”, Eric Reginald Oliver, is to Griquas.
“If EP were in East London to play Border, the players would hear his famous whistling coming from under the stadium tunnel that he was there,” Makoki added.
“That’s how much he loved rugby. We’ve lost a lot and I don’t think we will easily get someone like him again.”